Man receiving dental treatment

Get help with the cost of staying healthy

From treatments to hospital travel costs, we might be able to get help with the cost of staying healthy

A special NHS scheme could help us with the costs of medicines, treatments and other health expenses.

To apply, we should be on benefits, a student, pensioner or on a low wage. But we can’t have more than £6,000 in savings.

The NHS scheme could help us pay for prescription charges and dental treatment. 

It’s not the same scheme that entitles us to free prescriptions in England due to our age or the benefits we receive, for example. (If we’re in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland we don’t pay for prescriptions.)

We need something called an HC2 certificate. The certificate also lets us claim for the cost of travelling to get NHS treatment.

It can also help with eye tests, glasses, contact lenses and wigs.

And if we’ve already paid out the cash, the scheme allows us to claim our money back.

Prescription savings

If we’re in England and have to pay for our prescriptions, there’s an ‘annual pass’ that can slash costs.

It’s called a prescription prepayment certificate and it costs £31.25 for three months or £111.60 for a year.

Each prescription in England costs £9.65 – so we should work out if we’ll make savings before buying the certificate.

There’s also a special certificate for HRT prescriptions and it costs £19.30 a year.

Pregnancy cash

And if we’re pregnant or have recently given birth, there’s another payment scheme we might not be aware of.

It’s called the Sure Start Maternity Grant and it’s worth £500. We don’t have to pay it back.

We have to be on certain benefits, including Universal Credit, to get it. Other benefits that mean we qualify are Income Support, Income-based JSA, Income-related ESA, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit.

In Scotland it’s the Pregnancy and Baby Payment and it’s worth £707.25 for our first baby (and £353.65 for babies that are not our first).

Healthy Start

One scheme lots of us with young kids can benefit from is Healthy Start

If we’re on a low income and are pregnant or have a child under four we can get weekly vouchers to help us buy healthy foods and milk.

Each weekly voucher is worth £4.25 and if we have a child under one we get two vouchers, worth £8.50 in total.

The scheme is now online, so we get a preloaded card rather than paper vouchers. It means we can roll over any unspent cash into the next week if we need to.

In Scotland, it’s called the Best Start scheme. 

If we’re in Scotland, there’s also the Scottish Child Payment. It’s a payment of £25 for every child under 16 we look after and we need to be on certain benefits to qualify.

Image: Tima Miroshnichenko / Pexels

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